Athletics 9, Tigers 3

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DETROIT (AP)—Eric Chavez was enjoying his usual midsummer success streak even before arriving at Comerica Park this week.

A slumping Detroit Tigers pitching staff has made things even better for him.

Chavez hit two homers and a double on Wednesday, driving in a season-high five runs, and his Oakland Athletics went on to a 9-3 victory over the Tigers.

“I haven’t changed anything—this just happens,” he said. “It is just the way my career has gone. I just swing the bat better in the second half, and I felt like I was going to do that again this year.”

Chavez is hitting .414 with five homers and 18 RBIs in his last 15 games, lifting his average to .276.

“He’s gradually started to swing the bat better, but man, this was a big night for him,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “It would really give us a nice lift if he could continue this.”

Chavez went for 3-for-5 in the game, giving him five hits in 10 at-bats in the series, including four for extra bases. One of his two outs on Wednesday was a 400-foot flyout to deep center field.

“We made some very poor pitches to Eric Chavez tonight, and he crushed every one of them,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “He’s a very good hitter who is swinging the bat very well right now, and he showed what happens when you get a ball up in the strike zone to him.”

Tim Hudson pitched the Athletics to their 10th win in 13 games. Detroit has lost eight of nine and dropped to 29-82, clinching its 10th straight losing season.

“Obviously, I’m very concerned about all of this,” Trammell said. “But I don’t know that I have any options to make it better. Hopefully, in the long run, some of our young guys will learn from this experience.”

Hudson (10-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

“Ten wins—double-digit wins—that’s quite a feat for a pitcher,” he said. “Hopefully, I can keep adding to that total, because this is going to go down to the wire and a great ballclub is not going to make the playoffs.”

Hudson helped himself with five assists and two putouts. He improved to 8-2 lifetime against Detroit.

“It is hard to remember that, as much success as Tim has had, he’s still just a kid,” said Carlos Pena, who played with Hudson in Oakland before coming to Detroit. “He’s already a very good pitcher and he’s proven that with his career accomplishments already.”

Wil Ledezma (3-6) lost his fourth start in a row, giving up four runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.

“This is definitely frustrating,” Ledezma said through an interpreter. “I tried to challenge the hitters and they hit a couple homers. That’s part of baseball.”

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the first on Chavez’s homer, then added two more runs in the second.

With two outs, Scott Hatteberg lined a double and scored on Adam Piatt’s double. Eric Byrnes, who entered the game in a 3-for-35 slump, made it 3-0 with a line single.

“When we get a nice lead like that, I can be more aggressive,” Hudson said. “I’m just trying to throw strikes and keep the game moving.”

Bobby Higginson’s eighth homer of the year made it 3-2 in the third. Piatt moved the margin back to two runs with a 423-foot homer in the fourth.

Oakland loaded the bases in the fifth, but Ledezma struck out Ramon Hernandez to end the inning.

Chavez’s second homer, his 22nd, made it 6-2 in the seventh. Eric Munson hit a solo home run in the bottom half.

Oakland pulled away with three runs off Chris Mears in the ninth. Chavez hita two-run double and Erubiel Durazo had an RBI single.

Notes

Piatt’s homer was the 14th to clear the center-field fence since Comerica Park opened in 2000 and the first since Alfonso Soriano did it on June 1. … The Tigers placed C A.J. Hinch (groin) on the disabled list before the game and recalled C Brandon Inge from Triple-A Toledo. … The Tigers are 4-22 when Ledezma pitches this season. … The game featured five homers, the most at Comerica Park since there were five in New York’s 10-9, 17-inning victory onJune 1.

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